Daesh is losing, coalition to step up pressure: US

March 06, 2016

BAGHDAD: Daesh is losing a battle against forces arraigned against if from many sides in Iraq and Syria and the focus would turn to stabilising cities seized back from them, the US envoy to a coalition fighting the group said on Saturday.

Addressing a press conference in Baghdad, US official Brett McGurk declined to put a timeline on when the group would be defeated or when Mosul and Raqqa, the main cities under its control in Iraq and Syria respectively, would be retaken.

McGurk met in Baghdad Iraqi officials including Prime Minister Haider Al Abadi who said in December that 2016 would be a year of “final victory” over the group in Iraq.

“Daesh is feeling pressure now from all simultaneous directions and that’s going to continue..that’s going to accelerate,” McGurk said at the press conference, using an acronym for Daesh.

“Daesh is losing; as they lose we focus increasingly on stabilisation,” he added, referring to plans being made to rehabilitate and police cities recaptured from militants.

Daesh has come under pressure from air raids and ground forces actions by various parties in both countries, but they still hold large tracts of land.

The United States and its allies targeted Daesh militants in Iraq with 12 strikes on Friday and two in Syria, the US military said on Saturday.

Two of the strikes in Iraq were near Ramadi, hitting two Daesh tactical units and a tunnel.

One of the strikes in Syria destroyed two Daesh fighting positions near Palmyra, the military said.